The leadership challenge

There are often good intentions behind New Year’s resolutions; lose weight, improve work-life balance and be more successful. However, life has a funny way of upsetting the best laid plans and it is the same in business where the new norm is to expect the unexpected. This presents a challenge for leaders.

If you are in business then you will intuitively know that leaders perform better when they have broad-based skills, including communication and relationship building. Using this as a base, leaders can build and maintain strong relationships with stakeholders such as key clients and staff. Richard Branson recently advocated thinking about every customer you have, whether that’s one or one million, as individuals and treating them as such.

Treating people as individuals extends to your staff. Having a well articulated and clear vision will galvanise employees into action and both retain and attract top talent. Taking that further, the leader needs to be the role model for how things are done in the workplace. They must ensure that staff have the information, knowledge and methods available to realise the vision. Enlightened employers know that talented people want to work for collaborative leaders who inspire and challenge them.

The leadership challenge is to coordinate and balance the changing and sometimes conflicting needs of all stakeholders including staff. This will involve constantly monitoring and adjusting the way business is done whilst managing risk.

Sir Winston Churchill once said “Success is not final, failure is not fatal: It is the courage to continue that counts”.  But unlike management, which can be taught, leadership comes from within. So at a time when leaders should expect the unexpected, now is the perfect time for a leader to buddy with a credible coach or mentor.

Moore Stephens Markhams directors, partners and principals are all skilled in business.  Many of our clients use us to enhance their own leadership learning and we help deal with challenges that arise.  Talk to us if you think that this year the New Year’s resolution should include ‘get a coach’?

Published Autumn 2013.

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